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Second Turkish ship to begin drilling off Cyprus

Christian Fernsby |
Turkey's energy minister says a second Turkish ship will begin drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus within a week, a move that could stoke tensions with neighboring Cyprus and Greece.

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Turkey and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.

Turkish state news agency Anadolu quoted Fatih Donmez as saying on Saturday that "the second drilling ship, Yavuz, is currently at the port of Mersin doing final tests and taking on supplies."

"God willing, within a week Yavuz will begin drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, in Carpasia (peninsula), in the area where we have got a license from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” said Donmez.

Turkey's first drilling vessel, Fatih, has already started searching for gas and oil off Cyprus. Cyprus has issued arrest warrants for the ship’s crew members, accusing the vessel of breaching the republic's sovereign territory.

Last month, Greece and Cyprus called on the European Union to take punitive measures against Turkey after Ankara announced it would expand exploration for potentially lucrative gas resources in the region.

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